Mihai Bordeanu

The pandemic made us more agile

In Romania, Dacia maintains its leading market position, dominating the sales ranking despite the difficult economic context. However, the components shortage that affected the global car industry did not bypass Dacia. Since the first quarter of this year, when it hit the industry, we have been coordinating our response at group level within crisis units with the procurement and logistics teams in order to adapt and meet customer demand. The crisis is still not over, it is still affecting us. In July, production at our Romanian vehicle plant was interrupted for three days.

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2020: SEE TOP 100 sales shrink, retailers take lead

Amid global lockdowns and a steep economic downturn, companies in Southeast Europe (SEE) booked only a modest decline in sales, but profits collapsed. Oil companies and car makers, the traditional leaders in the ranking, bore the brunt of the Covid-induced crisis as shrunken consumption, travel restrictions and disrupted supply chains ate into their bottom lines. At the winning end, retailers posted double-digit revenue growth, riding the wave of e-commerce. Pharmaceutical companies too fared well as sales volumes surged.

Zdravko Maric

Croatia on track for 2023 eurozone entry, public debt seen below 3% by end-2021

Croatia is a highly euroised economy. We made a lot of quantitative analyses, calculating what are the pros and cons of us joining the euro area and the benefits, such as the elimination of ethics risk, reduction of private transaction risk and related risk, which are long-lasting, are much bigger than the potential threats. However, we also need to be very much focused on potential threats. We asked our citizens what are the key challenges that they see for us in introducing the euro, and the number one they mentioned was the possibility of inflation pressures because of retailers rounding up the prices. We also did an analysis of the situation in the newest members of the Euroland – the Baltic and Central and Eastern European countries – and on the average the inflation effect was just 0.2% for one year only as it is a one-off effect.

Valer Hancas

We plan to sustain expansion pace

The pandemic did not stop our investments or key projects, just the reverse. We made total investments of over 300 million euro, we continued to support and develop partnerships with local producers and in 2020 alone we have worked with over 2,400 suppliers in Romania. More than 8 million euro were allocated last year to community projects, which benefited 2.8 million Romanians. Kaufland was the first retailer on the market to certify its premises with the DEKRA international standard, which certifies that they comply with all measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have invested over 20 million lei in the implementation of protection and prevention measures at our premises – shops, warehouses, offices – with the greatest responsibility.

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Romania’s Hidroelectrica leads most profitable chart for second year in row

Romanian state-owned hydropower producer Hidroelectrica claimed the top spot in the ranking of the most profitable companies among the SEE TOP 100 entrants for 2020 for a second year in a row. Hidroelectrica’s return on revenue rose to 36.9% from 32.27% a year earlier. In 2020, the company sold 14.58 Twh of its own electricity production, 1.3% less than in 2019, while total electricity sales edged up 0.7%, to 15.96 Twh. In 2020, a two-year ban on the sale of state-held stakes in companies enforced by the government delayed the planned initial public offering (IPO) of Hidroelectrica. The IPO of a 10-15% stake in the company is expected to be the biggest in Romania’s history, seen fetching up to 1 billion euro. The company has in its portfolio 209 hydropower plants with a total installed capacity of 6,482 MW.

Matteo Rivellini

Green and digital transition, inclusive growth, common market at core of EIB’s 30 mln euro plan for W.Balkans

The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have created global disruptions that need to be tackled simultaneously. A COVID-19 recovery without parallel success from climate action in limiting global temperature rises to below 2ºC will be pointless in the long run. A green recovery that is mindful of our need to prevent an environmental catastrophe is the only meaningful way forward. This will require the transformation of our lives and business practices, as the global economy will need to shift to a circular and sustainable model. This will be the most effective way to mitigate the impact of these two calamities and increase the economy’s resilience.

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SEE top insurers premiums stay flat despite decline in profit

The combined net profit of the top 100 insurers in Southeastern Europe (SEE) went down to 476.4 million euro in 2020 from 496.8 million euro in the previous year. About 40% of the insurers in the top 100 list recorded a decline in net profit in an environment of unprecedented challenges caused by the coronavirus crisis and persisting low interest rates. SEE insurers, however, demonstrated resilience as their gross written premiums (GWP) remained unchanged at 8.1 billion euro. Still, nearly half of the entrants in this year’s ranking reported a decline in their GWP, including 14 that posted a double-digit fall.